1 | 16 | Determine what will trigger your procedure
Hi there! I'm Marian Knopp, the Online Business Systemizer at marianknopp.com.
The Productivity Tip of the Day™ is: Determine what will trigger your procedure
Yesterday we talked about writing out "click-by-click" procedures so that you're very clear on how you want something done. But just as important is when are you going to actually do this? And that will be your trigger.
Some of the triggers are kind of built into some of your routines. For example, you might have to do something every Monday. But it's really important to be very clear about the specifics of the trigger. Does it have to be done at a certain time? If so, that should be in your calendar. But can it be done anytime during the day, or maybe there's a certain part of the day it needs to be done by? If there is a certain day of the month that something has to be done on a monthly basis, or bimonthly basis, you need to be as specific as possible.
Don't try to schedule everything. I think some of the mistakes people make is they decide, "Oh, I'm going to do this every Thursday at 3:00 PM," when something could be done easily anytime on Thursday, it doesn't have to be at that time. So be as specific as possible, but don't put yourself into a bind by scheduling something that doesn't need to be scheduled that specifically.
Another way that you could trigger your procedures isn't necessarily by a certain time or day, but by something happening. Sometimes people will write a whole bunch of procedures and they'll have them filed away in some folder somewhere. However, you need to have access to them when it's time to execute that procedure, and the only way to know that is to define the trigger as you're writing the procedure.
Some of the triggers that are really common in my life are when I get a certain email. For example, I need to do bank statement reconciliation but I can't do that until the bank sends me that bank statement. Sometimes they send it on the first month, but sometimes it's the second or the third. So rather than telling myself I'm going to do this on the first of the month every month, or the second of the month, I will actually just make the trigger when I receive the email from the bank.
I actually have a list of triggers that are all email related. So if I get an email from this form, that I need to collect form data and move it somewhere else, then I will be triggered then. Because sometimes you can't predict when you're going to get things. For example, when people are scheduling your time. When somebody schedules time with me, then I need to do this. This is the procedure I do to prepare for that call.
This hopefully will generate some ideas of procedures that you may not have even thought of just because you've been running your to-do list through your email inbox, or something like that. So email triggers are certainly a possibility.
Also, your task management system could be a trigger as well. For example, when you're working with teams and somebody assigns something for you, so like in Trello if somebody assigned something to me, then I should have a procedure in place for how I handle that. Because I can have several different types of assignments, and I know ahead of time what those would be and how I should go about them. I have those procedures in place so that anytime I'm assigned to a certain type of task, I'm ready to go with that procedure accordingly. So I have a list for all my Trello notification triggers.
Now, not every procedure will have a nice neat trigger. Sometimes there are those rare occasions of like just in case this happens, this is an as needed situation where it's not necessarily somebody doing something that triggers it, it could be just simply your boss has asked you to do something but it doesn't happen all the time, there's no routine or rhythm for it. So then there could be a list for you that's just as needed, and so the trigger is simply that as needed.
But it's important not to just file it away in some sort of folder, filing system, and then you have to dig in there when the time comes, but to actually have provided yourself with access to it so that you can just roll right into the task and execute it immediately.
With that said, make sure that you add your trigger to the top of your procedures so that it's easier to file, or easier to set up your list systems with what you need to access. Of course, I do this all in Trello. You can store your procedures in Google Drive or whatever folder filing you use, Dropbox, Box, all of those systems, and then you can link to those procedures to the cards that have the trigger listed.
Just to tie everything together, the way I actually designate a card that has a task with a trigger, I actually use the Custom Fields Power-Up to use a trigger field that will have that trigger for it.
All right, so if you've been enjoying these tips, please share them with a friend or a colleague because it's better to learn together, and you can talk through them and try them out and experiment and see if it works for you guys, or what you can enhance yourselves.
Tomorrow, we're going to talk about the ownership of your tasks, so stay tuned for that and I'll see you then.